Beyond Beziers. 4/13/19

I am turning lurid shades of purple today. I am thinking, no short sleeves today!

Where I hit the kneeler with my upper arm. I have a similar bruise on my butt where I hit the pew except it is three times bigger.

Thoroughly covered up we make our way out of Beziers with a stop to see the “Vieux Pont” or old bridge. The bridge was first built in the 12th century and improved in the 1500’s. It is still in use today.

The Old Bridge with a view of Beziers town and cathedral

After this we spend quite a bit of time trying to find Les 9 ecluses du Fonserannes on the Canal du Midi. The ecluses are nine elliptical locks on the Aub River. They were an important section of the Canal du Midi which was crucial in linking the Atlantic Ocean at Bordeaux to the Mediterranean Sea near Beziers. It was engineered by Pierre Paul Richet of Beziers who had no formal training but came up with an idea which he got his bishop to present to the king of France. It was begun in 1667 and completed in 1681. Unfortunately Richet died before its completion. The canal meant that France could ship and receive goods without the time, expense or risk of going around the Iberian peninsula.

Our first try to locate the locks with my phone’s GPS ended up with us on the wrong side of the canal.
It is still a little chilly and breezy this morning.
A holiday boat enters the lock.
After the boat is all the way in the lock behind closes and water rushes into the compartment flooding the small area and bringing the boat up to the next level.
The boat repeats the process until it has climbed up to the level of the canal.

This UNESCO World Heritage site right outside of Beziers is beautifully maintained with a boardwalk through the marshy area and lovely flowers along the walk to the canal.

Lilacs along the way to the canal

On the way to Beziers I see a sign which reads “Oppidum D’enserune.” Oppidum had a distinctive Latin ring to it. (And by Latin, I mean dead language Latin.) So I google up oppidum and find that it refers to an encampment or town of Celtic origin occupied between 6 B.C. and 1 A.D. Wow, and there is one of these just a few mikes from a Beziers? We must go take a look!

It seems that there many of these oppida in Europe. Ultimately they became Romanized as trade increased. They had in their towns a sewer system, wine manufacture, and iron works. I love walking in the footsteps of ancient peoples!

The outlines of old houses and a road. Containers in the houses for foodstuffs.
Looking down towards a field with pie shaped fields. This was originally a marshy lake which the Celtic people used to deposit their waste water.
John is busy reading a sign about the site.
This was an area for craftsman. Cistern is in front for collecting rain water.
Spout brought water from elsewhere to the cistern.

There is also a museum with many artifacts from the oppidum site including amphora, large vases, and personal items.

Large ceramic container with typical logo of the area,.
Shards with runic symbols
Flute like instrument made from a bone.

Next we hop in the car for the hour or so trip to Carcassonne. We are not here to revisit the castle complex. We are here to find an excellent restaurant that we had lunch in during our trip to this area in 2010.

John walks in through a gate and immediately finds the restaurant.

As can be seen on their awning now they are an Italian pizza place. Although they still have cassoulet as a side line, the whole lunch is a disaster and we end up feeling bad that we have come all this way for an expensive crummy lunch.

On the way back with stop at a grocery store and pick up a bottle of wine, a hunk of cheese, and some bread. We know we won’t be hungry enough for a proper dinner. At the store I see a Trader Joe’s product. Joe certainly gets around!

Trader Joe’s nut flour or something like that


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